Knowing how to get things done is art. It took a really long time for me to understand it. When I was younger, I use to believe that all successful people are lucky and fortunate. Most of them seem to have everything – time, money, family, travel and much more. I feel that they have got it all sorted.
Now that I have studied the lives of many successful people, I know why they are lucky. The reason is simply that they get the things done when other people are just battling to get through the to-do list.
The art of getting things done is hidden in the details on the to-do list of these successful people.
Let me share with you the key learning of my finding from these people’s to-do lists.
The most important thing is to get the most important thing done.
Everything is important in life. Isn’t it? Wrong! It is the biggest lie we live with. Everything is not important and it is the truth.
After studying lives of Titans, I have identified three key areas, which I call the three enemies of effective productivity, where you and I need to improve if we would like to enjoy everything – time, money, family, travel and much more – like those successful people.
The three enemies of effective productivity.
Unfortunately, these three enemies are considered as effective tools for productivity. In fact, lots of co-operation consider these enemies as strength while hiring employees.
Studies have proved that these are not effective tools for productivity, but they are tools for getting the things done insufficiently if not at all.
Here are the three enemies.
photo by Marvin Meyer @marvelous
Humans can do more than one task together and this is one of the reasons, we are on the top of the food chain. It is not only a gift but also a survival need for us.
The different activity needs a different part of our mind to work. The problems start when we need concentration or focus to complete a task.
For example, you can walk and talk together, but imagine if you are walking on a rope bridge, you will stop talking because you need focus to maintain balance on the bridge.
Every time, you are multi-tasking, you are dividing your focus into multiple tasks and the result is an ineffective outcome from both tasks.
You can do a simple experiment to understand it. First, choose two different tasks and do it together. Once you are done note the time taken, then do them again, separately. You will find lesser time is required to do these tasks separately.
Multi-tasking is not as effective as commonly believed. 18% of road accidents in America are the result of multi-tasking because someone decided to drive and talk on the phone at the same time. People forget their babies in the bathtub or in the car because they are multi-tasking.
People simply get distracted from the main outcome when they are trying to do more than one thing at a time.
To be a productive person, you must focus on one task at a time with all your energy and then move to another one. After mastering this skill only, You can enjoy the fruit of excellence.
A to-do list
photo Glenn Carstens-Peters @glenncarstenspeters
We are too busy getting more things done. We make a to-do list based on anything we think we can do every day, not on what we can achieve.
Being busy is new cool in the co-operate world. People compromise their health by taking lunch at the desk, by not going for a small walk just to look busy.
Their to-do helps them to achieve this target, but it does not help them to get the important things done, because all the distraction it causes.
Successful people understand that and that is why their to-do list is based on the most important outcome. If you know 80/20 rule, you will know what I am talking about.
It is 20% of your tasks which produces 80% of your results.
When you finish making your to-do list, go through it again. Select the task which produces most of your outcome and then make a to-achieve list.
In my study, I find that normally it is 3 to 5 important tasks successful people do every day and rest is just not important enough to spend their time on.
Accepting every request from everyone.
You guessed it right. I am talking about “Yes” man. If you believe that saying Yes is the right way to show them that you respect them, you are mistaken.
Saying Yes creates more problems than it solves for all the parties involved. It creates an extra burden on you, which results in more stress and insufficient output.
When you say Yes to every request, you become accountable for every one of those. It means you let some people down if you do not deliver some which are often the case.
Saying Yes to unnecessary things also means that you are saying No to necessary things.
You must learn to say No, whenever is needed. Saying No means that you value your work and it also means that you value other people work by not letting them down.
When you have your to-achieve list, focus all your energy on these tasks first and then say Yes to any other request. That what makes you an effective achiever.
Photo by Hedi Alija
While watching TV, we talk to our family member. While eating food, we watch TV. While attending a meeting, we check our emails. While working on a project, we check email and then interrupted by social media notification and before reaching to that some one is at your desk to ask you a question.
We are distracted and programmed not to focus on anything. It takes months and months of practice to come out of this socially accepted behaviour. Just because it is accepted does not make it the right one.
To live a life which is different from normal, average and socially accepted, you need to do the things differently.
Start today and work on your skills to become the master of product delivery. Focus one thing at a time, choose the most important things to do first and say No responsibly. Develop the habit of filtering every task from these enemies.
Success is a chain of effective outcomes for a long time. If we are what we do, then make this a habit to produce effective outcomes and get things done.
To your success.